Welcome to news.com.au’s live coverage of the monster UFC 281 card.
One of the most hyped cards of 2022, Israel Adesanya is putting his middleweight belt up against former kick-boxing rival Alex Pereira at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The Brazilian has been a freak of nature in his recent run of six wins, including five by knockout.
Watch UFC 281: Adesanya v Pereira LIVE on Main Event available on Foxtel & Kayo Sports, Sunday 13 November from 2pm AEDT. ORDER NOW >
Despite this, UFC legend Conor McGregor has dismissed the Brazilian fighter’s chances of defeating Adesanya.
McGregor bluntly posted on Twitter and Instagram: “Adesanya wins tonight”.
Pereira famously defeated Adesanya on two occasions in their previous kick-boxing bouts — and handed Adesanya the only knockout loss of his career.
Adesanya is aiming to defend his title for the sixth time and has held the belt since his win at UFC 236 in April, 2019.
Coverage of the UFC 281 pay-per-view has begun. You can scroll down to see the full list of live results.
‘That is crazy’: Star put to sleep in ‘decapitation’
Ryan Spann has sent shockwaves across the UFC light heavyweight division with a sickening knockout win over Dominick Reyes.
Spann earned his “Superman” nickname on Sunday when he put the former light heavyweight title challenger to sleep.
The KO came out of nowhere with a simple left jab absolutely rocking Reyes in the first round.
The power of Spann’s jab left UFC legend Daniel Cormier lost for words.
“That dude’s got some power man,” he said on ESPN.
“The danger level is so high. That was nasty. This is crazy. Every time he hit Reyes he hurt him. Bryan Spann is a real problem.”
Joe Rogan said: “Oh my goodness. The quickness of that left hook. It was so clean. That is crazy. My goodness he just put him away.”
American sports reporter Brian Campbell described the strike as a “decapitation”.
Spann is ineligible for the $50,000 bonus for performance of the night because he failed to make weight for the fight.
Spann now has 15 first-round finishes and appears to be heading to the top end of the rankings.
‘Unbelievable’: Rogan shook by fiery KO
There have been fireworks on the preliminary undercard in an explosive start to UFC 281.
The New York crowd witnessed three knockouts before the main undercard had even kicked off, headlined by a savage left hand strike by Matt Frevola.
Frevola’s strike wiped out Ottman Azaitar in the first round of their fight.
The “Steam roller” then called out Paddy Pimblett and called for them to throwdown in London.
Frevola did everything he could to earn a bigger fight in his win over Azaitar.
“Unbelievable. That guy does not know what happened. He’s got up and he said, ‘What just happened’”.
Earlier Carlos Ulberg opened the card by knocking out Nicolae Negumereanu.
The Kiwi fighter’s left hand dropped his opponent and he finished it off with a few shots on the ground to claim the Round 1 TKO victory.
“Oh my goodness,” exclaimed Daniel Cormier in commentary, who said the Kiwi has “never looked better” while ESPN commentator Jon Anik described it as a “flawless” performance.
Michael trizano also scored a first round knockout win over Seungwoo Choi.
Aussie officially gets his wish for ‘super fight’
The UFC has announced Alexander Volkanovski will fight Islam Makhachev in a blockbuster showdown to be held in Perth at UFC 284 on February 12.
The Aussie has been campaigning for an opportunity to move up to the lightweight division and fight for Makhachev’s belt.
Makhachev and his coach, UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov, called out Volkanovski following the Russian’s win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 and the pair shook hands in the octagon, verbally agreeing to fight each other for the lightweight belt.
A fight between Makhachev and Volkanovski is a mouth-watering prospect and victory would ensure the Australian not only attains rare double champ status, but goes down as one of the best fighters the UFC has ever seen.
“I think it’s good for him to cement his name as one of the best,” said New Zealand UFC fighter Brad Riddell about Volkanovski’s move this week.
“Obviously he’s the best featherweight and one of the best featherweights there’ll ever be, and if he can become the ‘champ champ’, only (Conor) McGregor did that from that division.
“He’s going to do something, which is everybody’s goal in this sport, to be unique and do things other people can’t do or struggle to do.”
Riddell is fighting Renato Moicano on the UFC 281 undercard.
Spicy history between Adesanya and Pereira
Pereira has made no secret he has ben gunning for Adesanya ever since the champion fired a shot at him more than two years ago.
Pereira’s history of twice defeating Adesanya in kick-boxing makes the fight personal for Adesanya. It is also very personal for Pereira.
Adesanya said in an interview in 2000: “I’ve never ever watched any of his fights, ever.
“At the end of the day, no one knows who the f*** he is, and he’s going to be that guy when I’m world champion and when I’m a legend, he’s going to be at some pub talking s*** about ‘I beat that guy one time.’”
Adesanya said recently this fight is about his “legacy”.
“Without me, he wouldn’t be here,” he said.
“Without me, he would’ve been exposed a long time ago. I cleared the way.
“I cleared the division, so there was not really anyone else to fight. I cleared the way for him to get to the top.
“It’s personal. This is about me and my legacy.
“This is about re-writing history even though it is history and I never chased this.
“This is about me re-writing a new path in history and just showing people what I can really do, because, again, ya’ll must have forgot.”
UFC 281 Main Card live results
Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira for the UFC middleweight title
Carla Esparza vs. Zhang Weili for the UFC strawweight title
Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler (Lightweight)
Frankie Edgar vs. Chris Gutierrez (Bantamweight)
Dan Hooker vs. Claudio Puelles (Lightweight)
Renato Moicano def. Brad Riddell via TKO submission, Round 1
Ryan Spann def. Dominick Reyes by KO, Round 1
Erin Blanchfield def. Molly McCann by TKO submission (kimura), Round 1
Andre Petroski def. Wellington Turman by UD (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
Matt Frevola def. Ottman Azaitar by KO, Round 1
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Silvana Gomez Juarez by UD (29-28 x3)
Michael Trizano def. Choi Seung-woo by KO, Round 1
Montel Jackson def. Julio Arce by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Carlos Ulberg def. Nicolae Negumereanu by KO, Round 1
Story Credit: news.com.au